Post by humanbelly on Jun 28, 2012 20:20:29 GMT -5
I'm up to the 100th issue, in fact (vol 1). I was faithful to this book as a regular reader until the end of 1979 (Freshman year of college)-- but then it was in the first round of "neither the time or money" cuts that had to be made at that point.
There was an astonishing amount of not-good that was passed on to us readers between those covers over the years, although there was a mighty nice string of solid, fun issues delivered by Bill Mantlo/Sal Buscema & Chris Claremont/John Byrne at the height of its run. I'm now (sadly) into the post-good era, which I've acquired absent-mindedly over the years.
What you do see in reading a title like this straight through are the egregious shifts (about-faces, even) in editorial policies and priorities. Letters columns early on took the creators and editors seriously to task about why the book wasn't good at all, and demanded change. And those changes happened, and the book became good-! A few years later, there's an obvious, openly admitted shift towards making continuity and quality a secondary priority to simply using Spidey's popularity as a gimmick to draw readers in so they can be exposed to new or secondary or tertiary characters that need the face-time or a sales boost. Stories went back to being formulaic hack-jobs w/ journeyman writers and artists-in-need who were being tossed a bone (which was a heartbreak all its own).
Don't know if anyone has any memories or opinions to toss out about the series--- but I may be the informed fellow w/ the ear ready to be bent about it, if you do, eh?
Post by humanbelly on Jun 30, 2012 16:23:19 GMT -5
The Annuals! How have I been forgetting to read those?? (Well, because they're at the back of the row of monthly issues in the box, duh. That's how.) Thank you for the reminder.
Just so's we know the calibre of artists we're talking about, here. . .
Pencilers for issue #'s 95-105:
Ben Sean, Allen Kupperberg, Carmine Infantino, Will Meugniot (??), Jerry Bingham, Frank Miller (in a surpisingly poor effort), and Frank Springer. In #106, Herb Trimpe comes on board as the regular penciler. And to be fair, even though Herb's star had definitely waned at this point, he was still a noticeable step up from what we'd been given for many, many months.
Oy, this book. I've only managed to struggle up to issue #116 at this point-- it's really a tough slog. JM DeMatteis has come on as the regular writer, and he's never been a favorite of mine. Very wordy, dense writing habits that make each page rather a chore to get through, and his dialog tends to be terribly stilted with a sort of Silver Age-style lack of subtlety.
Herb Trimpe's pencils-- inconsistent at best, often look as if they've been lifted directly from other artists' work (Sal Buscema & Jack Kirby, in particular). There are moments where you would swear different pencilers had done adjacent panels. He does still tell a story reasonably well, for all of his technical weaknesses-- but Herb always needed a very, very good inker, and he does not have one in Mike Esposito, at this point. Quite the opposite (and this book has been more or less Esposito's assignment for many years now). The inks are alternately rough & muddy to spare & blocky-- again, never looking like a single artist. And they consistently enhance Herb's weaknesses rather than improve the art overall.
And of course the letters pages now do nothing but crow about how each successive issue was certainly a new pinnacle of success for Marvel Comics on the whole. One wonders how this title managed to hold on for another 3 years. Heck, even I wasn't buying it anymore.
Post by Marvel Boy on Sept 3, 2012 21:40:27 GMT -5
My favorite MTU issue is #70, Spidey and Thor by Claremont/Bryne, I think near the end of their run on the book. Story was decent, but the art was stunning. Seeing poor ol' Spidey being tossed about by the giant Living Monolith while Thor is busy unleashing Storms of the Centuries. Blew my young mind when I first read it many moons ago.
I've never been a big fan of this book though . I would pick up the occasional issue if Spidey teamed with a character I liked, but I was more into Marvel Two-In-One back then. Guess I liked Ben more than Peter.